Home  -  Tutor Videos / Shows   -  Queen Victoria   -  Queen Elizabeth   -  Queen Mary   -  Queen Adelaide   -  Catherine of Aragon   -  King Henry the VIII   -  Windsor Castle

Most Viewed

Alarm Of Catherine And The Growth Of Lutheranism

Absolution Of Lord Thomas Fitzgerald For The Murder Of The Archbishop Of Dublin

Anger Of Anne Boleyn And The Duke Of Norfolk

Anne Boleyn Chosen By Henry To Succeed Catherine

The Court At Blackfriars

Unpopularity Of Anne Boleyn And Removal Of Catherine From The Court

Warlike Resolution Of The Pope Restrained By The Cardinals

The Divorce

Anxiety Of The Pope To Satisfy The King

Death Of Archbishop Warham And The Pope Urged To Excommunicate Henry But Refuses Angering The Queen

Least Viewed

Expectation That Henry Would Return To The Roman Communion

Intended Escape Of The Princess Mary Out Of England

Competition For Henry's Hand

Illness Of The Princess Mary

Anne Sentenced To Die

The Pope's Authority Abolished In England

Likelihood Of A Separation Of The King From Anne

Illness Of Queen Catherine

Henry Advised To Marry Without Waiting For Sentence

Coronation Of Anne Boleyn

Intended Escape Of The Princess Mary Out Of England

The English Peers are supposed to have been the servile instruments of
Henry VIII.'s tyrannies and caprices, to have been ready to divorce or
murder a wife, or to execute a bishop, as it might please the King to
command. They were about to show that there were limits to their
obedience, and that when they saw occasion they could assert their
independence. Lord Dacre of Naworth was one of the most powerful of the
northern nobles. He had distinguished himself as a supporter of Queen
Catherine, and was particularly detested by the Lady Anne. His name
appears prominently in the lists supplied to Chapuys of those who could be
counted upon in the event of a rising. The Government had good reason,
therefore, to watch him with anxiety. As Warden of the Marches he had been
in constant contact with the Scots, and a Scotch invasion in execution of
the Papal censures had been part of Chapuys's scheme. Dacre was suspected
of underhand dealings with the Scots. He had been indicted at Carlisle
for treason in June, and had been sent to London for trial. He was brought
to the bar before the Peers, assisted by the twelve Judges. An escape of a
prisoner was rare when the Crown prosecuted; the Privy Council prepared
the evidence, drew up their case, and in bringing a man to the bar made
themselves responsible for the charge; failure, therefore, was equivalent
to a vote of censure. The prosecution of Dacre had been set on foot by
Cromwell, who had perhaps been informed of particulars of his conduct
which it was undesirable to bring forward. The Peers looked on Cromwell as
another Wolsey--as another intruding commoner who was taking liberties
with the ancient blood. The Lady Anne was supposed to have borne malice
against Dacre. The Lady Anne was to be made to know that there were limits
to her power. Dacre spoke for seven hours to a sympathetic court; he was
unanimously acquitted, and the City of London celebrated his escape with
bonfires and illuminations. The Court had received a sharp rebuff.
Norfolk, who sate as High Steward, had to accept a verdict of which he
alone disapproved. At Rome the acquittal was regarded as perhaps the
beginning of some commotion with which God was preparing to punish the
King of England.

More serious news arrived from Ireland. While the English Catholics were
muttering discontent and waiting for foreign help, Lord Thomas Fitzgerald,
"the youth of promise" whom Chapuys had recommended to Charles's notice,
had broken into open rebellion, and had forsworn his allegiance to Henry
as an excommunicated sovereign. Fitzgerald was a ferocious savage, but his
crimes were committed in the name of religion. In my history of this
rebellion I connected it with the sacred cause of More and Fisher, and was
severely rebuked for my alleged unfairness. The fresh particulars here to
be mentioned prove that I was entirely right, that the rising in Ireland
was encouraged by the same means, was part of the same conspiracy, that it
was regarded at Rome and by the Papal party everywhere as the first blow
struck in a holy war.

It commenced with the murder of the Archbishop of Dublin, a feeble old
man, who was dragged out of his bed and slaughtered by Fitzgerald's own
hand. It spread rapidly through the English Pale, and Chapuys recorded its
progress with delight. The English had been caught unprepared.
Skeffington, the Deputy, was a fool. Ireland, in Chapuys's opinion, was
practically recovered to the Holy See, and with the smallest assistance
from the Emperor and the Pope the heretics and all their works would be
made an end of there.

A fortnight later he wrote still more enthusiastically. Kildare's son was
absolute master of the island. He had driven the King to ask for terms; he
had refused to listen, and was then everywhere expelling the English or
else killing them.

The pleasure felt by all worthy people, Chapuys said, was incredible. Such
a turn of events was a good beginning for a settlement in England, and the
Catholic party desired his Majesty most passionately not to lose the
opportunity. On all sides the Ambassador was besieged with entreaties. "An
excellent nobleman had met him by appointment in the country, and had
assured him solemnly that the least move on the Emperor's part would end
the matter." The Irish example had "fired all their hearts. They were
longing to follow it."

As this intelligence might fail to rouse Charles, the Ambassador again
added as a further reason for haste that the Queen and Princess were in
danger of losing their lives. Cromwell had been heard to say that their
deaths would end all quarrels. Lord Wiltshire had said the same, and the
fear was that when Parliament reassembled the ladies might be brought to
trial under the statute.

If Cromwell and Lord Wiltshire used the words ascribed to them, no evil
purpose need have been implied or intended. Catherine was a confirmed
invalid; the Princess Mary had just been attacked with an alarming
illness. Chapuys had dissuaded Mary at last from making fresh quarrels
with her governess; she had submitted to the indignities of her situation
with reluctant patience, and had followed unresistingly in the various
removals of Elizabeth's establishment. The irritation, however, had told
on her health, and at the time of Chapuys's conversation with the
"excellent nobleman" her life was supposed to be in danger from ordinary
causes. That Anne wished her dead was natural enough; Anne had recently
been again disappointed, and had disappointed the King in the central wish
of his heart. She had said she was enceinte, but the signs had passed
off. It was rumoured that Henry's feelings were cooling towards her. He
had answered, so Court scandal said, to some imperious message of hers
that she ought to be satisfied with what he had done for her; were things
to begin again he would not do as much. Report said also that there were
nouvelles amours; but, as the alleged object of the King's attention was
a lady devoted to Queen Catherine, the amour was probably innocent. The
Ambassador built little upon this; Anne's will to injure the Princess he
knew to be boundless, and he believed her power over Henry still to be
great. Mary herself had sent him word that she had discovered practices
for her destruction.

Any peril to which she might be exposed would approach her, as Chapuys was
obliged to confess, from one side only. He ascertained that "when certain
members of the Council had advised harsh measures to please the Lady
Anne," the King had told them that he would never consent, and no one at
the Court--neither the Lady nor any other person--dared speak against the
Princess. "The King loved her," so Cromwell said, "a hundred times more
than his latest born." The notion that the statute was to be enforced
against her life was a chimera of malice. In her illness he showed the
deepest anxiety; he sent his own physician to attend on her, and he sent
for her mother's physician from Kimbolton. Chapuys admitted that he was
naturally kind--"d'aymable et cordiale nature"--that his daughter's death
would be a serious blow to himself, however welcome to Anne and to
politicians, and that, beyond his natural feeling, he was conscious that,
occurring under the present circumstances, it would be a stain on his

More than once Henry had interfered for Mary's protection. He had perhaps
heard of what Anne had threatened to do to her on his proposed journey to
Calais. She had been the occasion, at any rate, of sharp differences
between them. He had resented, when he discovered it, the manner in which
she had been dragged to the More, and had allowed her, when staying there,
to be publicly visited by the ladies and gentlemen of the court, to the
Lady's great annoyance. Nay, Mary had been permitted to refuse to leave
her room when Anne had sent for her, and the strictest orders had been
given through Cromwell that anyone who treated her disrespectfully should
be severely punished.

True as all this might be, however, Chapuys's feelings towards the King
were not altered, his fears diminished, or his desire less eager to bring
about a rebellion and a revolution. Lord Thomas Fitzgerald's performances
in Ireland were spurring into energy the disaffected in England. The
nobleman to whom Chapuys had referred was Lord Hussey of Lincolnshire, who
had been Chamberlain to the Princess Mary when she had an establishment of
her own as next in succession to the crown. Lord Hussey was a dear friend
of her mother's. Having opened the ground he again visited the Ambassador
"in utmost secrecy." He told him that he and all the honest men in the
realm were much discouraged by the Emperor's delay to set things straight,
as it was a thing which could so easily be done. The lives of the Queen
and Princess were undoubtedly threatened; their cause was God's cause,
which the Emperor was bound to uphold, and the English people looked to
him as their natural sovereign. Chapuys replied that if the Emperor was to
do as Lord Hussey desired, he feared that an invasion of England would
cause much hurt and suffering to many innocent people. Lord Hussey was
reputed a wise man. Chapuys asked him what would he do himself if he were
in the Emperor's place. Lord Hussey answered that the state of England was
as well known to Chapuys as to himself. Almost everyone was looking for
help to the Emperor. There was no fear of his injuring the people; their
indignation was so great that there would be no resistance. The war would
be over as soon as it was begun. The details, he said, Lord Darcy would
explain better than he could do. The Emperor should first issue a
declaration. The people would then take arms, and would be joined by the
nobles and the clergy.

Fisher had used the same language. Fisher was in the Tower, and no longer
accessible. Lord Darcy of Templehurst has been already seen in drawing the
indictment against Wolsey. He was an old crusader; he had served under
Ferdinand and Isabella, was a Spaniard in sympathy, and was able, as he
represented, to bring eight thousand men into the field from the northern
counties. On Lord Hussey's recommendation Chapuys sent a confidential
servant to Darcy, who professed himself as zealous as his friend. Darcy
said that he was as loyal as any man, but things were going on so
outrageously, especially in matters of religion, that he, for one, could
not bear it longer. In the north there were six hundred lords and
gentlemen who thought as he did. Measures were about to be taken in
Parliament to favour the Lutherans. He was going himself into Yorkshire,
where he intended to commence an opposition. If the Emperor would help him
he would take the field behind the crucifix, and would raise the banner of
Castile. Measures might be concerted with the Scots; a Scotch army might
cross the border as soon as he had himself taken arms; an Imperial
squadron should appear simultaneously at the mouth of the Thames, and a
battalion of soldiers from Flanders should be landed at Hull, with arms
and money for the poorer gentlemen. He and the northern lords would supply
their own forces. Many of the other Peers, he said, entirely agreed with
him. He named especially Lord Derby and Lord Dacre.

This letter is of extreme importance, as explaining the laws which it was
found necessary to pass in the ensuing Parliament. A deeply rooted and
most dangerous conspiracy was actively forming--how dangerous the
Pilgrimage of Grace afterwards proved--in which Darcy and Hussey were the
principal leaders. The Government was well served. The King and Cromwell
knew more than it was prudent to publish. The rebellion meditated was the
more formidable because it was sanctified by the name of religion, with
the avowed purpose of executing the Papal Brief. Fitzgerald's rising in
Ireland was but the first dropping of a storm designed to be universal.
Half the Peers who surrounded Henry's person, and voted in Parliament for
the reforming statutes, were at heart leagued with his enemies. He had a
right to impose a test of loyalty on them, and force them to declare
whether they were his subjects or the Pope's.

For a moment it seemed as if the peril might pass over. It became known in
England in October that Clement VII. had ended his pontificate, and that
Cardinal Farnese reigned in his stead as Paul III. On Clement's death the
King, according to Chapuys, had counted on a schism in the Church, and was
disappointed at the facility with which the election had been carried
through; but Farnese had been on Henry's side in the divorce case, and the
impression in the English Council was that the quarrel with Rome would
now be composed. The Duke of Norfolk, who had been the loudest in his
denunciations of Clement, was of the opinion that the King, as a Catholic
Prince, would submit to his successor. Even Cromwell laid the blame of the
rupture on Clement personally, and when he heard that he was gone,
exclaimed that "the Great Devil was dead." Henry knew better than his
Minister that "the Great Devil" was not this or that pontiff, but the
Papacy itself. He had liberated his kingdom; he did not mean to lead it
back into bondage. "Let no man," he said to Norfolk, "try to persuade me
to such a step. I shall account no more of the Pope than of any priest in
my realm." Farnese undoubtedly expected that Henry would make
advances to him, and was prepared to meet them; he told Casalis that he
had taken a legal opinion as to whether his predecessor's judgment in the
divorce case could be reopened, and a decision given in the King's favour;
the lawyers had assured him that there would be no difficulty, and the
Pope evidently wished the King to believe that he might now have his way
if he would place himself in the Pope's hands. Henry, however, was too
wary to be caught. He must have deeds, not words, he said. If the Pope was
sincere he would revoke his predecessor's sentence of his own accord.
Francis, by whose influence Farnese had been elected, tried to bring Henry
to submission, but to no purpose. The King was no longer to be moved by
vague phrases like those to which he had once trusted to his cost.
Surrounded by treachery though he knew himself to be, he looked no longer
for palliatives and compromises, and went straight on upon his way. The
House of Commons was with him, growing in heartiness at each succeeding
session. The Peers and clergy might conspire in secret. In public, as
estates of the realm, they were too cowardly to oppose.

Parliament met in November. The other Acts which were passed by it this
year are relatively unimportant, and may be read elsewhere. The great
business of the session, which has left its mark on history, was to pass
the Act of Supremacy, detailing and explaining the meaning of the title
which Convocation two years previously had conferred upon the King.
Unentangled any longer with saving clauses, the sovereign authority under
the law in all causes, ecclesiastical and civil, was declared to rest
thenceforward in the Crown, and the last vestiges of Roman jurisdiction in
England were swept off and disappeared. No laws, no injunctions, no
fancied rights over the consciences of English subjects were to be pleaded
further as a rule to their conduct which had not been sanctioned by Crown
and Parliament. No clergy, English or foreign, were to exercise
thenceforward any power not delegated to them and limited under the law of
the land, except what could not be taken from them--their special
privilege of administering the sacraments. Double loyalty to the Crown and
to the Papacy was thenceforward impossible. The Pope had attempted to
depose the King. The Act of Supremacy was England's answer.

But to enact a law was not enough. With Ireland in insurrection, with half
the nobles and more than half the clergy, regular and secular, in England
inviting a Spanish invasion, the King and Commons, who were in earnest in
carrying through the reforms which they had begun, were obliged to take
larger measures to distinguish their friends from their enemies. If the
Catholics had the immense majority to which they pretended, the
Constitution gave them the power of legitimate opposition. If they were
professing with their lips and sustaining with their votes a course of
policy which they were plotting secretly to overthrow, it was fair and
right to compel them to show their true colours. Therefore the Parliament
further enacted that to deny the royal supremacy--in other words, to
maintain the right of the Pope to declare the King deprived--should be
high treason, and the Act was so interpreted that persons who were open to
suspicion might be interrogated, and that a refusal to answer should be
accepted as an acknowledgment of guilt. In quiet times such a measure
would be unnecessary, and therefore tyrannical. Facta arguantur dicta
impune sint. In the face of Chapuys's correspondence it will hardly be
maintained that the reforming Government of Henry VIII. was in no danger.
The Statute of Supremacy must be judged by the reality of the peril which
it was designed to meet. If the Reformation was a crime, the laws by which
it defended itself were criminal along with it. If the Reformation was the
dawning of a new and brilliant era for Imperial England, if it was the
opening of a fountain from which the English genius has flowed out over
the wide surface of the entire globe, the men who watched over its early
trials and enabled the movement to advance, undishonoured and undisfigured
by civil war, deserve rather to be respected for their resolution than
reviled as arbitrary despots. To try the actions of statesmen in a time of
high national peril by the canons of an age of tranquillity is the highest
form of historical injustice.

The naked truth--and nakedness is not always indecent--was something of
this kind. A marriage with a brother's wife was forbidden by the universal
law of Christendom. Kings, dukes, and other great men who disposed as they
pleased of the hands of their sons and daughters, found it often
desirable, for political or domestic reasons, to form connections which
the law prohibited, and therefore they maintained an Italian conjuror who
professed to be able for a consideration to turn wrong into right. To
marriages so arranged it was absurd to attach the same obligations as
belonged to unions legitimately contracted. If, as often happened, such
marriages turned out ill, the same conjuror who could make could unmake.
This function, also, he was repeatedly called on to exercise, and, for a
consideration also, he was usually compliant. The King of England had been
married as a boy to Catherine of Aragon, carrying out an arrangement
between their respective fathers. The marriage had failed in the most
important object for which royal marriages are formed: there was no male
heir to the crown, nor any prospect of one. Henry, therefore, as any other
prince in Europe would have done, applied to the Italian for assistance.
The conjuror was willing, confessing that the case was one where his
abilities might properly be employed. But another of his supporters
interfered, and forced him to refuse. The King of England had always paid
his share for the conjuror's maintenance. He was violently deprived of a
concession which it was admitted that he had a right to claim. But for the
conjuror's pretensions to make the unlawful lawful he would not have been
in the situation in which he found himself. What could be more natural
than that, finding himself thus treated, he should begin to doubt whether
the conjuror, after all, had the power of making wrong into right?
whether the marriage had not been wrong from the beginning? And, when the
magical artist began to curse, as his habit was when doubts were thrown on
his being the Vicar of the Almighty, what could be more natural also than
to throw him and his tackle out of window?

The passing of the Act increased the anxiety about the position of the
Princess Mary. In the opinion of most reasonable persons her claim to the
succession was superior to that of Elizabeth, and, if she had submitted to
her father, it would probably have been allowed and established. In the
eyes of the disaffected, however, she was already, by Clement's sentence,
the legitimate possessor of the throne. Reginald Pole, Lady Salisbury's
son and grandson of the Duke of Clarence, was still abroad. Henry had
endeavoured to gain him over, but had not succeeded. He was of the blood
of the White Rose, and, with his brother, had gone by instinct into
opposition. His birth, in those days of loyalty to race, gave him
influence in England, and Catherine, as has been seen, had fixed upon him
as Mary's husband. He had been brought already under Charles's notice as
likely to be of use in the intended rebellion. The Queen, wrote Chapuys to
the Emperor, knew no one to whom she would better like her daughter to be
married; many right-minded people held that the light to the crown lay in
the family of the Duke of Clarence, Edward's children having been
illegitimate; if the Emperor would send an army across with Lord Reginald
attached to it everyone would declare for him; his younger brother
Geoffrey was a constant visitor to himself; once more he insisted that
nothing could be more easy than the conquest of the whole kingdom.

The object with Chapuys was now to carry Mary abroad, partly that she
might be married to Pole, partly for her own security. Notwithstanding the
King's evident care for her health and good treatment he could not look
into the details of her daily life, and Anne was growing daily more
dangerous. Both Catherine and the Princess had still many friends among
the ladies of the Court. To one of these, young and beautiful--and,
therefore, certainly not the plain Jane Seymour--the King was supposed to
have paid attentions. Like another lady who had been mentioned previously,
she was devoted to Catherine's interests, and obviously not, therefore, a
pretender to Henry's personal affections. Anne had affected to be jealous,
and under other aspects had reason for uneasiness. She had demanded this
lady's dismissal from the court, and had been so violent that "the King
had left her in displeasure, complaining of her importunacy and
vexatiousness." The restoration of Mary to favour was a constant alarm to
Anne, and she had a party of her own which had been raised by her
patronage, depended on her influence, and was ready to execute her
pleasure. Thus the petty annoyances of which both Catherine and her
daughter complained were not discontinued. The household at Kimbolton was
reduced; a confidential maid who had been useful in the Queen's
correspondence was discovered and dismissed. Mary was left under the
control of Mrs. Shelton, who dared not openly displease Anne. It was Anne
that Chapuys blamed.

Anne hated the Princess. The King had a real love for her. In her illness
he had been studiously kind. When told it had been caused by mental
trouble he said, with a sigh, "that it was pity her obstinacy should
prevent him from treating her as he wished and as she deserved. The case
was the harder, as he knew that her conduct had been dictated by her
mother, and he was therefore obliged to keep them separate."

The Privy Councillors appear to have remonstrated with Anne on her
behaviour to Mary. Passionate scenes, at any rate, had occurred between
her and Henry's principal Ministers. She spoke to her uncle, the Duke of
Norfolk, in terms "which would not be used to a dog." Norfolk left the
room in indignation, muttering that she was a "grande putaine." The
malcontents increased daily and became bolder in word and action. Lord
Northumberland, Anne's early lover, of whom Darcy had been doubtful,
professed now to be so disgusted with the malice and arrogance of the Lady
that he, too, looked to the Emperor's coming as the only remedy. Lord
Sandys, Henry's chamberlain, withdrew to his house, pretending sickness,
and sent Chapuys a message that the Emperor had the hearts of the English
people, and, at the least motion which the Emperor might make, the realm
would be in confusion. The news from Fitzgerald was less
satisfactory. His resources were failing, and he wanted help, but he was
still standing out. England, however, was more and more sure; the northern
counties were unanimous, in the south and west the Marquis of Exeter and
the Poles were superior to any force which could be brought against them;
the spread of Lutheranism was creating more exasperation than even the
divorce. Moderate men had hoped for an arrangement with the new Pope.
Instead of it, the heretical preachers were more violent than ever, and
the King was believed to have encouraged them. Dr. Brown, an Augustinian
friar, and General of the Mendicant Order, who, as some believed, had
married the King and Anne, had dared to maintain in a sermon "that the
Bishops and all others who did not burn the Bulls which they had received
from the Pope, and obtain others from the King, deserved to be punished.
Their authority was derived from the King alone. Their sacred chrism would
avail them nothing while they obeyed the Idol of Rome, who was a limb of
the Devil."

"Language so abominable," said Chapuys, in reporting it, "must have been
prompted by the King, or else by Cromwell, who made the said monk his
right hand in all things unlawful;" Cromwell and Cranmer being of Luther's
opinion that there was no difference between priests and bishops, save
what the letters patent of the Crown might constitute. "Cromwell," Chapuys
said, "had been feeling his way with some of the Bench on the subject." At
a meeting of Council he had asked Gardiner and others whether the King
could not make and unmake bishops at his pleasure. They were obliged to
answer that he could, to save their benefices.

Outrages so flagrant had shocked beyond longer endurance the Conservative
mind of England. Darcy, at the beginning of the new year (a year which, as
he hoped, was to witness an end to them), sent Chapuys a present of a
sword, as an indication that the time was come for sword-play. Let
the Emperor send but a little money; let a proclamation be drawn in his
name that the nation was in arms for the cause of God and the Queen, the
comfort of the people, and the restoration of order and justice, and a
hundred thousand men would rush to the field. The present was the
propitious moment. If action was longer delayed it might be too late.

To the enthusiastic and the eager the cause which touches themselves the
nearest seems always the most important in the world. Charles V. had
struggled long to escape the duty which the Pope and destiny appeared to
be combining to thrust upon him. With Germany unsettled, with the Turks in
Hungary, with Barbarossa's corsair-fleet commanding the Mediterranean and
harassing the Spanish coast, with another French war visibly ahead, and a
renewed invasion of Italy, Charles was in no condition to add Henry to the
number of his enemies. Chapuys and Darcy, Fisher and Reginald Pole allowed
passion to persuade them that the English King was Antichrist in person,
the centre of all the disorder which disturbed the world. All else could
wait, but the Emperor must first strike down Antichrist and then the rest
would be easy. Charles was wiser than they, and could better estimate the
danger of what he was called on to undertake; but he could not shut his
ears entirely to entreaties so reiterated. Before anything could be done,
however, means would have to be taken to secure the persons of the Queen
and Princess--of the Princess especially, as she would be in most danger.
So far he had discouraged her escape when it had been proposed to him,
since, were she once in his hands, he had thought that war could no longer
be avoided. He now allowed Chapuys to try what he could do to get her out
of the country, and meanwhile to report more particularly on the landing
of an invading force.

The escape itself presented no great difficulty. The Princess was
generally at the Palace at Greenwich. Her friends would let her out at
night; an armed barge could be waiting off the walls, and a Flemish
man-of-war might be ready at the Nore, of size sufficient to beat off
boats that might be sent in pursuit. Should she be removed elsewhere the
enterprise would not be so easy. In the event of an insurrection while she
was still in the realm, Chapuys said the first step of the Lords would be
to get possession of her mother and Mary. If they failed, the King would
send them to the Tower: but in the Tower they would be out of danger, as
the Constable, Sir William Kingston, was their friend. In any case he did
not believe that hurt would be done them, the King feeling that, if war
did break out, they would be useful as mediators, like the wife and mother
of Coriolanus.

Next: Illness Of The Princess Mary

Previous: Determined Attitude Of The Princess Mary

Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 1365